You don't always have a full day to dedicate to organizing your kitchen, so your best bet is to complete little tasks here and there. The next time you find yourself with an extra 10 minutes on your hands (say, while you wait for the internet to restart or before you have to leave for school pickup), try tackling one of these to-dos.
1. Install some sticky hooks.
If they're not already, sticky hooks (we love the ones from Command) should be your BFF. Attach a few to the side of a cabinet. Or hang some up on a wall where they'll be out of the way. These hooks are perfect for hanging a dishtowel or oven mitt, storing your measuring cups and spoons, or organizing your pot lids.
Some Ways to Use Sticky Hooks
2. Purge your fridge of anything expired.
Do a quick sweep of your refrigerator and dispose of anything that's no longer edible. That means too-old leftovers and expired condiments have got to go. You don't have to scrub your shelves right now — just weed out the stuff that you're not going to eat.
If you have more time: How To Clean the Refrigerator
3. Clean out your gadget drawer.
Transform your gadget drawer from a jumbled mess into a streamlined station with a quick cleaning session. Take everything out and give the drawer a quick wipe. Then, before you put everything back, go through and cut stuff out of your life. You do not need two can openers. Or that thingamajig that you haven't used in nine months.
For another day: Make the Most of Kitchen Drawers By Organizing Diagonally
4. Create a meal plan for the next week.
Grab your laptop, phone, or a notebook and get to work planning your next weeks' worth of meals. What's meal planning have to do with organizing? Everything. Mostly this: If you have you have a clear plan of attack for the week, you won't run around wreaking havoc in your kitchen during a 6 p.m. panic.
More on Meal Planning
5. Round up all your bags.
If you're in the (savvy, eco-conscious) habit of saving your excess shopping bags for reuse, take a few minutes to ensure they're all compiled in the same space. Consider grabbing an organizer (like this one from The Container Store) and attaching it to the inside of a cabinet door or pantry for easy access in the future.
6. Streamline your pantry.
Time to do a bit of marrying! Hit up your pantry with the intention of consolidating any half-used containers. If you'd really like to streamline and max-out your available space, shop for uniform containers that can store everything from pasta and rice to spices and flour.
More on Pantry Organization
7. Rearrange your small appliances.
Think about your small appliances and how often you use them. Seldom-used gear (like that niche waffle maker or ice cream machine) need to be moved to the back of cabinets or onto higher shelves, while your most-used stuff (think: your stand mixer and slow cooker) can get a VIP spot.
8. Tackle your Tupperware.
Ah, the bane of every home cook's existence. Prevent towers of food storage containers from falling onto your head next time you need a to-go container by re-stacking your supply. While you're in there, eliminate anything without a matching top or bottom.
Steal These Tupperware Storage Ideas
9. Check your spices.
Pop your head into your pantry or your spice cabinet and see what you're about to run out of (and then add it to your shopping list!). Label anything that needs it and take a minute or two to refill your pepper mill and salt cellar.
For another day: Our Guide to Cleaning Out Your Messy Spice Drawer
10. Address the odds and ends.
You know those random one-off twist-ties, rubber bands, and coupons that are cluttering up your counters? Take some time to put them where they actually belong. Note: Do not just swipe them into a drawer. Put them away — in a container or place where you'll actually be able to find them when you need them.
What little organizing tasks do you tackle when you have a few free minutes?